Random Thoughts

Views on Lala, Apple, Labels, and Print Media

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I am a very music type of person, I am also a very business type person, more like in the web 2.0 type. Not really button down shirt type but more like a start up, and like most start ups, I enjoy Apple products.

Apple bought SoundJam MP back in 2000 and brought in the main developers. In 2001 later Apple re-released it as iTunes. It has been 8 years since iTunes has been in the market. It has vastly changed since its original version. You can now buy music, movies, TV episodes, and application for its own portable media player (PMP), the iPhone and iPod touch.

iTunes is the second largest seller of music in the US, behind Walmart, surpassing, Target and Best Buy. Last Friday there was a rumor that Apple had purchase a small start up, Lala. While I never really used Lala, it’s business models seems very interesting. You pay 0.10ยข per song and you’ll be able to stream it anywhere, anytime, forever. If they did not have the song you wanted but you had it in you library it was uploaded. There is no need to carry your entire iTunes library with you at all times. Which is a good thing because NAND flash is taking a long time to increase in size, and to decrease in price.

Here is where labels come in. Labels are becoming a bit less relevant. I know many people that are self releasing music on iTunes. While they don’t have the financial backing of major label some of them are doing fairly well. The business model of labels is broken and it’s taking them a very long time for them to catch with the ever increasing changing environment of the web and the public choice.

Most labels are still reading the playbook from the 20th century. It’s ok, it works or better yet, it worked well in the the 20th century. We’re about to conclude the first decade of the 21st century and yet have seen any change from any of the 4 major labels.

While I did consultant work for a major label this is my own views and do not reflect any information I might have been privied to while working at said label. Anyone knows that internal reports and business can change on a whim.

With that said… I am excited to see what this acquisition will bring the Apple ecosystem of music and iPod/iphones. While I can come up with wild speculation of what this may bring… I’ll leave that to the analysis.

Print Media… I really haven’t used print media in a while. It’s slow, it’s (relatively) expensive for 12 hour old news. Pre the Financial bailout Print media where making money hand over fist on over valuation… Post financial bailout… spending is down, valued is down, ad-revenue is down. While some media have gone as far as becoming web only… It seems like it something that will become more consistent in the next decade. I enjoy having the new at my finger tips. We are at a verge of a revolution of media, music, and even TV. While there that oppose change. I need to tell those people that change will happen and if you don’t accept it with open arms you’ll get lost. It seems like Media companies are being quick to act as they are starting a Marketplace of sorts to buy subscriptions. But this only an announcement and no product in the market in no way are designed to handle the multimedia packages they have show off. You can see the demo here.

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